Rainbow Appears On Party Room Wall As Coalition Stalls Vote On Marriage Equality

A day is a long, long time in the world of much beloved social media hashtag Auspol.

Following multiple party room meetings, inter-party controversy, Cabinet ministers exuding uncharacteristic defiance, and political wheelings and dealings, the Coalition today emerged from their party room after finally sitting down to discuss the issue of a conscience vote on Marriage Equality to reveal…
…well, that we’re in just about the same exact spot we were about 8 hours ago.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been treading a mine field of conservative politics today, after Liberal MP Warren Entsch raised the issue of Marriage Equality inside a Liberal party room meeting this morning. Entsch is one of the co-sponsors of a cross-party supported bill to legislate for marriage equality, and demanded the discussion of allowing a conscience vote be had in the meeting today.
But when Tony Abbott called for a meeting on the issue to be held in the Coalition party room, not just the Liberal one by itself, things began to splinter.
Liberal MPs in favour of marriage equality were reportedly left feeling blindsided by the move, which would bring the decidedly more conservative National Party MPs into the debate.
Even further, and in somewhat uncharacteristic fashion, it was Education Minister Christopher Pyne who apparently was the most vocal of the Senior Cabinet ministers, warning Abbott against referring the matter to the Coalition for fear of being perceived as “branch stacking,” with word emerging through the media that potentially as many as 6 MPs would consider crossing the floor in the event that a Coalition party room meeting disallowed a conscience vote for Liberal MPs.

Abbott’s decision to engage the Coalition – and not just the Liberal party – is in line with his pre-election promise that it would be a matter for the Coalition party room to decide on post-election.

The hasty extra meeting was scheduled for this afternoon, and despite what appeared to be lengthy discussions behind extremely tightly closed doors – the Government going further out of its way than usual to prevent any media leaks – MPs emerged with very little news at all, seemingly having spent some 90 minutes without the issue coming to a vote.

Although the speculation is rife that, if put to a vote, the issue will not pass the Party Room floor.

And yet, whilst all of this was happening, the weather even managed to have its say on the matter, with an emerging sun casting a rainbow – of all things – on the wall of the Liberal Party Room whilst meetings on the issue were taking place.

Trust a natural, normal, unpreventable and undeniable occurrence to provide the defining piece of ironic political symbolism for the day.

The issue, for the moment, remains as it always has been in Canberra – an unresolved mess of closed door politicking.
Photo via Twitter.